New Providence Associates share their journey – part 1
Some of our new Providence Associates who made their first commitments on Nov. 14, 2020, share their journeys from the past year in today’s blog post. Are you interested in becoming a Providence Associate? Learn more here.
For me, the process of becoming a Providence Associate began as a deep yearning to be closer to my creator. To be part of a force which fosters greater compassion and nurturing of humanity and of what it means to be connected by Providence to one another.
The process itself brought me peace and more patience with my own journey. It deepened my compassion through prayer and thoughtful consideration of what choice means to me and how each action impacts a greater web of existence. It was not more rigorous thought, but certainly different thinking. And I found I was most content when I allowed myself to accept whatever understanding presented itself and build upon it through conversations with my companion.
I had to ask a lot of questions. And I learned to pray differently. I had to reflect on what it means to live with a common intention within a world that makes it easier to walk away from confusion than towards it; to study and inquire about it from a different view and then accept that there will always be another question and that’s OK. It was so much more than I could have imagined in the beginning and Sister Mary Tomlinson was an excellent companion, helping me begin to unravel Providence Spirituality.
I am so fortunate to be united with a powerful group of people who I know are working in their daily lives to be a part of a common thread. People whose ideas may differ, whose journey may be completely unlike mine, but whose destination is found in hope.
In short, my daily life looks much the same, but the lens I see it with is new. I am so very grateful.
The process of becoming a Providence Associate was eye opening. I really valued the time allowed for introspection as well as the constant, gentle guidance from my companion, Sister Rosemary Nudd.
My companion and I talked on the phone every couple of weeks and worked through the binder. Receiving the binder can be intimidating but actually working through it flows really nicely. We went through some units faster and spent more time on others that we found a lot to dig through.
Being a Providence Associate is very important to me. It means I get to stay deeply connected with the sisters and their mission. Since first coming to the Woods as an intern at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice in 2017-18, I’ve grown and learned so much. I can’t wait to continue that in the years to come.
This was truly one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had.
I met with my companions, Sister Mary Ann McCauley and Sister Ann Matilda Holloran, monthly (sometimes more than once a month). We worked through the sections of the binder together. We cried, laughed, prayed and were there for each other. Often we had in-depth conversations where we shared personal experiences and told stories of our lives. We often talked about how the exercises in the binder are valuable not just for this year, but for the rest of our lives. People grow and change and the opportunities to show Providence grow and change with you.
This program means the world to me! I plan to stay in touch with Sister Mary Ann and Sister Ann Matilda. They are part of my family now. I always considered myself a faithful person, but this program helped me to look at things in a deeper way. The program exercises encouraged me to open my eyes to opportunities of Providence in everyday life. This has been one of the most meaningful things I have ever done for myself. I am usually a helper and doer for others. But I did this for myself. And it has filled my heart and soul with so much joy, peace and love I can’t find the words to describe it. I truly love my sisters and look forward to many years of being a Providence Associate.
I met monthly with my companion, Sister Ann Casper, and did a lot of reading and study. The most meaningful was reflection on who the Sisters of Providence are and how that might intertwine with who I am and feel called to be. It was a true blessing that the process allowed for me to share my journey with others, particularly my own family, who traveled to the Woods with me and grew to know and love Saint Mother Theodore and the sisters more right alongside me. We consider the sisters part of our extended family now.
On a practical level, I did a lot of reading, reflecting, and discussion. But on a spiritual level, I was called to examine my own life in its entirety, my beliefs and practices, and my role with and for others in Creation. I had to grow in ways I never imagined I would. I had to explore ideas that hadn’t really entered my mind before as parts of our faith life.
Being a Providence Associate, I have a sense now of belonging to a community. A community that has common interests and a shared outlook of life. I’m part of something bigger. And that allows me to carry out my baptismal calling of communion with Providence and God’s people. To carry on the humbling notion of not only seeing Christ in others but being Christ for them as well. I have a very real opportunity now to minister in cooperation with the sisters and other associates, even if it’s just through my ministry in our little “domestic church” of my wife (Tiffany), our children (Brooklyn, 10, and Brett, 8), and anyone else I cross paths with daily. It is a possibility for true integration of faith-in-action with ‘everyday’ life.
I’ve always liked the quote from Mother Theodore, “Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us,” and how truly amazing it is when you just “place yourself gently in the hands of Providence.” There’s not another way to describe the pleasant surprises God has in store when you allow that Divine influence into your life.
Read tomorrow’s blog post for more from our new Providence Associates.